Tribune reporters asked legislative staffers and former lawmakers about the existence of sexual harassment at the capitol. Rocha says women told reporters that abuse is “rampant.” Abuses ranged from sexually suggestive comments and gestures to outright assaults, Rocha says. There haven’t been any complaints of harassment since 2011, the Tribune found.
“Women tell us that some didn’t know there was a process – the House and Senate have slightly different processes for reporting such complaints,” Rocha says. “What you have is a culture of women warning each other.”
Rocha says House Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott expressed interest in reviewing existing harassment policies.
Abbott is taking sides in a state House primary race. The incumbent, Republican Sarah Davis, has ties to Straus, and has expressed displeasure with the governor’s retreat from his stated plans to promote ethics reform measures during the legislative session.
A Tribune report that TxDOT intended to use an accounting trick to divert voter-approved money to the construction of toll roads raised eyebrows at the capitol, with Patrick and Straus calling foul, and the transportation agency pulling back from its original plan.